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Scientific name: Caretta caretta
Stock Assessment / Estimated Breeding Population
In the Pacific, there are two distinct nesting groups of loggerheads. In the north Pacific, turtles nest on the coasts of Japan. This population has declined 50 - 90% during the last 60 years and now fewer than 700 females nest there each year. In the south Pacific, loggerheads frequent the shores of Australia for nesting. While in 1977 about 3,500 females nested here, today there are only around 500 per year.
- Endangered Species Act (ESA)
- Hawaii state law
Through satellite tracking, researchers have discovered that loggerheads in the Pacific have a highly migratory life stage. Juveniles hatch out of nests in Japan and Australia and then make their way all the way across the Pacific to feeding grounds off the coast of Mexico. They spend several years there growing to maturity and then trek all the way back to their natal beaches on the other side of the ocean to mate and nest. While their shells are not considered as beautiful as those of other sea turtles by most, loggerheads are often hosts to floating mini-communities. More than 50 species of invertebrates have been found associated with their shells including barnacles, tunicates, sponges, and crabs, among others. While most turtles will flee from predators, loggerheads are an aggressive and are known to turn and face any threat head on.
Please see the NOAA Fisheries - Office of Protected Resources website for more details of Loggerhead sea turtle natural history.
- Incidental catch in longline fisheries.
- Habitat loss at nesting beaches outside of U.S. jurisdication.
- Egg predation by introduced species.
Current Management Issues
- The Protected Resources Division (PRD) has the responsibility to implement the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The division is tasked with the recovery of all ESA listed species, including all five species of sea turtle that occur in the region. This includes writing and implementing species recovery plans and permitting/authorizations for important fishery interactions issues.
- Public outreach and education
- Partner with state and local governments and other entities to successfully manage endangered species and provide funding for research and conservation.